Macaron: Haptic Design with Examples

img Examples can help the design process, but haptic libraries are limited: they are opaque & immutable. We explore the potential for visualized, editable examples in vibrotactile design. Using a new web-based editor, Macaron, as our platform, we establish a picture of vibrotactile design with examples. We find additional access can provide an effective starting point for designers, and help novices learn how to use vibrotactile parameters.

We are also actively developing Macaron into an open-source, free online tool for haptic design. This has two advantages: it lowers the barrier for haptic design, previously requiring protected, internal tools or advanced programming and prototyping skills, and it provides a much-need lens into the haptic design process through usability metrics, which lets us build better design tools. Currently, Macaron is in a limited beta; stay tuned for more information.


Tool (beta):
Slides: PDF


Examples are a critical part of any design process, but supporting their use for a haptic medium is nontrivial. Current libraries for vibrotactile (VT) effects provide neither insight into examples' construction nor capability for deconstruction and re-composition. To investigate the special requirements of example use for VT design, we studied designers as they used a web-based effect editor, Macaron, which we created as both an evaluation platform and a practical tool. We qualitatively characterized participants' design processes and observed two basic example uses: as a starting point or template for a design task, and as a learning method. We discuss how features supporting internal visibility and composition influenced these example uses, and articulate several implications for VT editing tools and libraries of VT examples. We conclude with future work, including plans to deploy Macaron online to examine examples and other aspects of VT design in situ.